June 4, 2018
“The LORD is exalted over all the nations, his glory above the heavens. Who is like the LORD our God, the One who sits enthroned on high, who stoops down to look on the heavens and the earth?” Psalm 113:4-6 (NIV)
At the end of my twin daughters’ first “semester” in preschool, we had a parent-teacher meeting to make sure they were on the right track. In my mind, that meant we were going to find out the statistical probability of either one or both of them having their playtime at recess permanently revoked.
I sat down, fingers braided across my knees to project confidence. Ease. Displaying my fresh, “I’m doing a great job balancing life” manicure.
They were effusive about the girls. They praised them for their empathetic natures and obedient hearts. Yes. Those were my children. The ones I was raising perfectly. I nodded, almost feeling sorry for the other moms.
“The one thing we’ve noticed, Mrs. Smith, is that they could stand a little work on their fine motor skills.”
Surely they are going to be banned from recess for life.
“Specifically with scissors. How often do you practice at home?”
Was this a trick question? They were 3 years old. Three-year-olds play with bubbles, not with moving knives.
I started slowly, trying to gauge their expressions.
“Not extremely often,” I paused. “Ever.”
“Okay — well, it might be good to start working on it. Other than that, they’re just doing fantastically.”
I couldn’t stop my thoughts from blurting out.
“I mean … are they supposed to? Do the other kids cut things? Are we talking dotted triangles or lacy snowflakes here? Will they catch up? Is there some kind of physical therapy for this sort of thing? Can we regroup in a few weeks? Sorry. It’s just a lot to take in.” I bit my lip and blinked away hot tears. “I guess I’m just asking if it’s safe for them to do that. I don’t know why I didn’t think of it. It’s safe, right?”
For as long as I live I will never forget what the co-teacher said in response:
“Well, they make scissors with rounded tips. Safety scissors. Because they’re …” she struggled to finish without sounding condescending, “umm … safe.”
She smiled gently.
“Mrs. Smith, you’re doing a fantastic job. Really.”
And then I went full-fetal and tried to stall because I had seen the next mom, and she didn’t need help. I needed help. She was wearing mint-colored capris and a ridiculously stylish sweater that screamed, “We use safety scissors!”
I can’t even tell you the name of the teacher who spoke so kindly to me, but I can promise you I remember how she made me feel.
Of all of the attributes of the Lord, one of the most mysterious to me is His tenderness with us — His completely unnecessary, deeply personal and undeniably affectionate posture in response to our shortcomings as His children.
Throughout Scripture, the Lord chooses to descend to us instead of being condescending toward us. “The LORD is exalted over all the nations, his glory above the heavens. Who is like the LORD our God, the One who sits enthroned on high, who stoops down to look on the heavens and the earth?” (Psalm 113:4-6)
How often are we so busy listening to the condemnation in our minds that we don’t hear Him telling us we’re already forgiven?
Our very best will never be enough. We will fall short and miss the mark. But His wild grace swallows every bit of it, and the best thing we can do is live like we believe it.
Lord, help us from being so caught up in our human standing that we forget the stooping of the Divine on our behalf. How You love us this way I will never know. But You do, and that changes everything. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Isaiah 54:4a, “Do not be afraid; you will not be put to shame. Do not fear disgrace; you will not be humiliated.” (NIV)
Want to study the whole Bible in 6 weeks? Our next Online Bible Study, Seamless by Angie Smith, will help us do just that! Grow more in your understanding of Scripture as we learn how the entire Bible fits together into one Seamless story. Learn more about our summer study here.
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
As you go through your day today, take note where your thoughts go when you feel embarrassed, shameful or misunderstood. Make a deliberate attempt to stop your mind from wandering down paths that distract you from the truth of God’s forgiveness. Jot those experiences down so you can recognize how often you do this — you’ll start to see patterns to address. He will not put you to shame, friend; now walk in that freedom.
How can you start to embrace God’s grace today? Let us know here.
© 2018 by Angie Smith. All rights reserved.
Originally published Monday, 04 June 2018.